Mets Game 108: Win Over Phillies

Mets 11 Phillies 2

Mets crush Phillies in an old-fashioned “laugher.”

Mets Game Notes

As I was working at my real job while this game happened, I didn’t see any of it. Please fill me in on the details not available in the box score.

Lucas Duda remains on a rampage, and perhaps had some extra energy as a result of sitting on the bench the day before. Zack Wheeler keeps on dealin’. Daniel Murphy beefs up his trade value at the deadline.

Winning by 9 runs means the Mets’ run differential increases to a whopping +14. I’m not being snarky in the least by using the word “whopping” — it IS a very large differential for a losing team. Which begs the question: does run differential mean anything at all? I have to wonder how a team can have such a positive differential yet a losing record — is it the manager’s fault? Perhaps it’s indicative of nothing, in which case, why do people pay attention to it?

Next Mets Game

Lucas Duda gets another day off on Thursday — as do the rest of his teammates. Lucas and the Mets return to action on Friday night at 7:10 PM against the reeling Giants. Jonathon Niese drags his ailing shoulder to the mound against Ryan Vogelsong.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Yeats August 1, 2014 at 1:49 am
    Lucas Duda got a hit off a lefty. I thought that was unpossible!

    Run differential… a worthless measurement without a little bit of game-by-game mining, don’t you think? The only superficial conclusion I would draw from a run differential that seems out of line with a team’s record is that either the hitting or pitching has been wildly inconsistent.

  2. argonbunnies August 1, 2014 at 6:21 am
    Run differential has some predictive value. It functions as a clearer gauge of true talent than W-L, weeding out any particularly good/bad luck/clutch play from the past. Thus, if you expect a team’s talent to stay constant, then you can expect their record to mirror their run diff. going forward. Accordingly, the Mets should play slightly over .500 ball for the final third of the season.

    If, on the other hand, you think the Mets’ runs scored and runs allowed thus far do not reflect their true talent, then never mind, ignore all the numbers and go with your gut. Vegas will welcome you with open arms.

    You’ll be pleased to know that one +9-run win has very little effect on any projections. With 54 games remaining, I think that’s the difference between 28-26 vs 29-25. +14 is not “such a positive run differential” — stare at those numbers often enough, and you’ll realize it’s well within the “roughly .500 team” category. At this point in the season “very positive” is +60 at least. A truly dominant team will be over +100.

    If you want to explain why the 2014 Mets are under-performing their run differential, the answer is poor clutch hitting. Whether that’s Sandy’s fault for his roster construction, or Terry’s fault for who he bats when, or the hitters’ fault for choking, is a matter of opinion. Personally, I blame the hitters, as well as the team culture of desperation.

    • crozier August 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm
      As someone who has sold of his shares of “clutch hitting” stock, I can’t buy back in. I’m more in line with “close game results are more luck-based” – i.e., could’ve gone either way.

      The 2012 Orioles won an astounding majority of their 1-run games, and there was much talk about how clutch they were. But they couldn’t repeat that outcome in 2012, probably because it was luck – also, fine, an unusual combination of players doing exceptionally well at the same time. But in any case, conditions that don’t tend to repeat from year-to-year.

      Now, if you want to blame hitting, blame hitting. As much as the Mets may have failed to hit late in close games, they’ve also failed to hit in other situations in close games. Which is to say, an early 3-run homer would’ve made a clutch hit later in the game unnecessary.

      Likewise, I don’t think Duda is more “clutch” now than in 2013, where his productivity numbers were horrible. I just think he’s a better hitter overall. More home runs, and what do you know? More “clutch” home runs. He’s better late in the game (and in other situations) because he’s better at hitting good pitchers (his 7th inning, opposite field single off a lefty when the game was close was more impressive, and valuable, than his 8th inning bomb when the game was out of hand).

      Arguable points, all. But that’s my take on it these days.

    • crozier August 1, 2014 at 6:10 pm
      Joe, while I’m run differential believer, you have to take those numbers with a grain of salt at times. For example, take away wins/losses where the difference was 6 runs or more, and the Mets are at a -5 RD – which is a whole lot closer to a sub-.500 team like, say the Rays, who are currently at -4.

      I do think the Mets are better than a .500 team now. But I don’t expect them to do spectacularly well against the horde of contending teams they face this month. .500 will be challenge this year. Doable, though – more than I could’ve said at this time last year.

  3. DaveSchneck August 1, 2014 at 8:26 am
    Argon,
    Excellent explanation. I’ll only opine on one point. It could be poor fielding in the clutch as well. In any event, gm, managers, players, each of their performances makes a difference in the end. Two more wins in the first 108 means 2 less losses and a .500 team 4 out from the WC. Now they have no margin for a slump. They are a long shot this seaaon and well poised to improve next year but it would benefit not only the fans but the players to stick in the race as long as they can it 2014. Just avoid abusing the young arms along the way
  4. DanB August 1, 2014 at 11:26 am
    Joe, how come the comments are turned off under the (lack of) discussion about the trading deadline? I find it facinating the work of the Red Sox. They have shown an unique ability to retool their team quickly, much like the Braves used to a decade ago. The Lackey trade, in particular, was applaudable. Everyone was surprised about how much the Red Sox got for him but the backbone of this trade was set in 2010 when the Red Sox signed Lackey. They front loaded the contract so that next year Lackey will make only $500,000. Not only was this beneficial to Lackey, it opened up the market for Lackey to all teams, no matter market size. On the other side, Colon was virtually unmoveable because of concerns of his backloaded contract. The same could be said of many of former Met contracts (Santana, Bay, etc..). I understand the value of backloaded deals in real estate, but in baseball it has less value, especially with team owners who don’t have the stomach to pay down salaries of players they trade away.
    • friend August 1, 2014 at 11:46 am
      Mets trade a ShackBurger for a snack to be named later.
    • Joe Janish August 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm
      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

      I don’t know why the comments were “off” — I didn’t even remember that was an option!

      Sorry about that.

      Funny, I was wondering why no one was commenting on that post — I thought for sure there would be a conversation happening. Oh well.

      Thanks DanB!

  5. norme August 1, 2014 at 11:44 am
    DanB, great point on front loading vs. back loading. The question is: How do you get the Mets management to understand it?
  6. DanB August 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm
    i don’t believe it is an Alderson thing or a Minaya thing. i believe it is a Wilpon thing. if they were willing to eat contracts it would be mute. however they never do hence the talk of Colon going via a waiver claim. i know i have said it a lot, but the Mets will never have prolong success with the Wilpons as owner, no matter who is the GM, third baseman, or hotdog vendor.